Ethiopia: The Hawkish Sudanese Generals Not to Play With Fire


Ethiopia and Sudan has never been an enemy to one another. Their peoples don't have any confusion knowing this fact. It is in the Sudanese people knowledge that Ethiopia has never had malicious intention to the Sudan. The Sudan had never face atrocities, meddling into their internal affairs, colonization or coup d'état from its Eastern neighbor, while they well understand where it was from. At this juncture, it would be worth remembering how the Ethiopian troops are sacrifice their lives and paying their bloods in their peacekeeping missions in Sudan for the enduring peace of the people of Sudan. Anyone who is interested to go through the historical chronicles of the two countries would plausibly come to pinpoint their enemy somewhere else in their surroundings.

However, what has recently been witnessed from the Military wing of the Sudanese Transition Government seems bizarre. The hawkish Sudanese generals loyal to third-party interests are opted to military adventurism in managing the Ethio-Sudan relationships. To the Sudanese peoples' dismay, the generals in the top echelon within the Transition Military Council (TMC) are blatantly promoting the enemy's interest while undermining that of the Sudanese.

The Sudanese Army, in disrespectful manner to the time-honored excellent relationships that exist between Ethiopia and Sudan, and in flagrant violation of the international law against the use of force, has invaded the Ethiopian land and demolished existing administrative institutions, overtaken Ethiopian Army military camps, killed and displaced residents, and destroyed their crops and property. Besides that, the Sudanese generals are trumpeting military victories over the Ethiopian Army in the absence of the latter in the border area, and advancing their troops further deep to the Ethiopian borderso as to provoke the Ethiopian side for military take on.

On the other side, the Ethiopian government, in honor of the brotherly people of the Sudan and mindful of the profiteers of the resulting military conflict, opted to forbearances as not to be dragged to the military confrontation that is tactically planned by their common foe. From the Ethiopia side there is a clear understanding that both Ethiopia and Sudan will be losers and their common evil will be a profiteer from the ensuing military confrontation.

Let me add one simple fact to substantiate my argument on how the Sudanese generals are running against the Sudan's interest. The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) will sprawl the Sudanese national interest without their effort to allocate a penny into this project. It would contribute to Sudan in flood control, and public safety, besides a manageable irrigation system to increase productivity. There are several foreign agricultural investments in Sudan relying on the support of the Nile waters. On the contrary, Egypt worries an increase in irrigation capacity in Sudan, as the result of the GERD would decrease the water flow to its territory. If the fact were this, how would the GERD pose a threat to the Sudanese interest as some Sudanese authorities are presently arguing against the facts?

Of course, the Sudanese generals are not just the Trojan horses being instrumental to third-party interests, but they also are power mongers gambling with fires to divert the attentions of the Sudanese people from the mounting public grievances and resentments at the present leadership for its failure to deliver the fruits of their recent revolt that ousted President Omar al Bashir.

There are also grudges deep hidden in the hearts of General Abdel Fattah al-Burnham and his circles that drive them to conflicting behavior towards Ethiopia. The Sudanese military junta headed by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, after overthrowing President Omar al-Bashir through military coup d'état, established a transition military council to govern Sudan. At that time, the Sudanese military junta had got the backings and supports of their Gulf allies. However, this move faced strong opposition from Sudanese protestors that resulted into the killings of about 100 civilians and injured hundreds of others in what is known as the Khartoum massacre.

Following the call of the Sudanese Professionals Association and protestors, the Ethiopian premier Abiy Ahmed (PhD) played a leading negotiating role that the civilian legitimate concerns to be taken seriously and take part in the transition government's power sharing arrangement. For this, the Sudanese people applauded the Ethiopian premier. On the contrary, the transitional military council (TMC) leaders were disappointed as their power grab aspiration had become foiled and they ascribed the cause to PM Abiy Ahmed. In my observation, the Sudanese Generals have miscalculated in analyzing the present Ethiopian situation as the right moment to settle old scores.

The Sudanese people and the international community, knowing the facts, should pressure the Sudanese Generals to withdrew from the occupied Ethiopian territory and revert to the status quo ante they were before Nov 6, 2020. And then, come to dialogue to resolve the dispute through the existing joint bilateral mechanisms in place.

Ed.'s Note: Solomon Zekie works at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The views expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect the views of The Reporter.

Contributed by Solomon Zekie

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